Over the “Lockdown” period, I’ve played quite a few games (although not as many or as much as one might think). I’ve converted my class to “Distance Education,” so much of my time has been devoted to that–grading, checking email, and the like. However, I managed to finish 3 games over the period (all strangely sequels with the number “2” in the title–go figure), so I thought I’d briefly talk about them.
The Division 2
This is a game that I finished during the Covid-19 Pandemic and “quarantine.” It is a game about reforging America (specifically during Washington DC) during a Pandemic. So, to use the current term for this one, it was so “meta.” I was playing a game that had elements of what was happening in the real world. Now, to be clear, the pandemic in the game is mostly over and you’re using your “military” training to “rebuild” the city from roving “factions.” In a way, this is a power fantasy of good over evil, or what I wish both Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead had been instead of the “man’s inhumanity to man” plot lines that inhabit most of both shows’ runs. I finished the “main” game and saw the “ending” cinematic, before the game “reset” and tasked you to redo the most of the game over again–just on a harder difficulty (won’t go into more detain due to spoilers on how that happens in the game). I finished the “main” story-line and I’m happy with the resolution of the game, so I will be moving on to other games. I thought it was worth the purchase price (I got it on sale), and enjoyed my time with it. GRADE: B
Okay, so Knack 2 is something that only I like. It (along with the first game in the series) is roundly criticized as a game that should not exist. It is an “old” design, repetitive, and the story is too “traditional” as it is “good vs evil.” Or, at least that is the critical and popular opinion. However, Knack 2 is definitely a game for one person–me! I love the series. Knack has its issues, don’t get me wrong. It is no Grand Theft Auto (GTA) by any means, but that’s not a bad thing. Gamers decry the fact that there’s no variety in the game offerings any more, but just as I am NOT the target audience for The Hunger Games, so too are most gamers NOT the target audience for this series and it seems to make them angry–just look at the level of vitriol because this series exists. However, the game is an action platformer that I can put my brain on cruise control as I play. It does have some weird difficulty spikes, but for the most part, is simply mindless fun–something that I want after a hard week of reading, writing, and grading papers. Over the break, I’ve finished the “main” story and I’m going back and replaying it to try to get all the trophies (100%) for the game. Again, although no one else likes its combat and platforming, I really do and I hope they keep making them despite the gamer “rage” that it seems to inspire. Grade: B
The Crew 2
This is a racing game that I finished recently. It is set in a (truncated) open world version of America and let’s you travel to various places in America while taking parts in different race types. You can either race in various events scattered throughout the map or you can drive the open world and explore. They have many U.S. cities (although outside of New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake, and maybe Seattle, as well, the smaller cities don’t have any correlation to what they look like in real life. They even have a version of Chattanooga & Nashville (areas where I live/work as Murfreesboro is about a 30 minute drive from Nashville) in the game. Surprisingly, no Atlanta or Boston–two cities that are more populous/well known than Chattanooga or Nashville, but hey, I’ll take it. I finished the game and all the event types and I’ve done every trophy except for two. Unfortuntely, both are multiplayer trophies and depend on getting someone else online to do those two activities with you. I tried over the weekend, but no one wanted to “join” me, so it’ll be a matter of luck to get those now–when the game was “young,” tons of people wanted to do those trophies–now, not so much.
It’s a shame, really, as the game was technically a Christmas gift. I’d really like to get those two trophies to get 100% to show that I really enjoyed the game and my time with it. A mini-rant: game designers–please, please, please STOP putting multiplayer trophies in your games. They work “early” in the game’s life-cycle (sometimes), but are almost always impossible to get without “boosting” or “cheating” in some way later on. Yes, we know you’d like us to do your marketing for you by convincing our friends to buy your game. No, we’re not going to do this (in most cases), so please stop. Also, while you’re at it, please stop with the “Drifting and drift events.” They’re not good in this game and they’re rarely ever good in racing games, in general. Thank you. Mini-rant over.
Outside of the fact that I’ll probably be stuck at 96% completion for the rest of my time with the game, I enjoyed it. I hope they bring out a sequel for the next generation consoles (without multiplayer trophies this time).
Edit: I was able to find a player who wanted to “partner” up and I got one of the two trophies that I needed. So now, I’m currently at 98%. It was super-lucky that the player wanted to partner up — this player just wanted to drive around (which is fine–that’s mostly what I do in this game which is why it has taken me so long to get all the activities done), so I wasn’t able to get the other trophy done — which is to “team up” to do an event, and this player didn’t seem to want to do this. Still, I was happy and surprised to knock out one of these two trophies.
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